Posted November. 14, 2012 08:34,
The presidential candidates of the ruling and main opposition parties on Tuesday pledged to create 250,000 to 300,000 jobs every year if elected in the Dec. 19 election.
The latest promises by Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party and Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic United Party sounded more realistic rather than rosy. Independent runner Ahn Cheol-soo offered no target figures, saying substantial plans are more important than numbers.
This was the first time for the three candidates to announce detailed targets for job creation. The Dong-A Ilbo asked the three candidates on their employment policies and goals and received their answers Tuesday. Dong-A`s Youth Dream Center made questionnaires based on the job creation competitive index it jointly devised with Monitor Group, a global consulting firm. The questions were sent to each candidate, and this was the first of the two-part series on the results.
Park said she will seek to create new economic growth engines and jobs based on imagination, creativity and science and technology, adding she will strive to achieve an employment rate of 70 percent according to the standards of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. Korea`s employment rate was 63.9 percent last year among those aged 15 to 64 under the OECD standard. Experts say creating 300,000 jobs per year should be carried out over the next five years to achieve the goal.
Moon proposed job creation-based growth, apparently meaning that he will create jobs in the public sector and make it a growth engine. He pledged to raise the employment rate to 70 percent by 2020 based on OECD standards, adding that the goal could be achieved by creating 250,000 per year until 2020.
Independent candidate Ahn said, "If economic participants carry out their respective social responsibilities and the government shifts its policy toward job creation, job creation through social integration will be feasible."
In the 2007 presidential election, candidates pledged to create 2.5 million to five million jobs over their term. Yet the number of new jobs per year was 145,000 in 2008, minus 72,000 in 2009, 323,000 in 2010, and 415,000 last year.
Yoo Gyeong-joon, a researcher at the Korea Development Institute, said, "Considering the upward trajectory of the number of short-time workers, the goals of Park and Moon seem possible. But they should simultaneously strive to improve the quality of jobs."